Duncan Ketter had the world in the palm of his hand. The 19-year-old East Boston resident had recently graduated from Madison Park High School, was enrolled in Franklin Institute of Technology and was working full time at Hertz in order to help his family back in Kenya.
However, Ketter’s life tragically ended on Sunday, December 10, at the corner of Orleans and Marginal Streets after he was shot to death while defending a friend during a robbery by four assailants.
On Sunday parishioners at the Central Assembly of God on Bennington Street, the church where Ketter had worshipped before his death, held a Service of Remembrance.
“Born in Kericho, Kenya Ketter moved to Eastie to live with his father when he was seven years old,” said Ketter’s Pastor David Searles. “Many of us knew him by the American version of his name ‘Duncan’.”
Parishioners of Ketter’s home church gathered with people from the community and members of the Boston area Kenyan Community to commemorate his life.
At the spacial Mass the Ketter family publicly thanked all the people in Eastie who reached out to them during their loss, including all those who provided meals for them for three weeks as they mourned the loss of their son, brother and friend.
Eastie residents like Sandra Nijjar, Antonio Avanti, Steve Holt and the East Boston Trauma Team who helped organize the candlelight vigil and set up the public memorial and community leaders City Councilor Lydia Edwards and Chamber of Commerce President Buddy Mangini who shared their support for the family were all singled out by Ketter’s family during the Mass.
In addition, gratitude was expressed to Eastie resident Rob Pyles and many local restaurants who provided food for the meal following the funeral and to the YMCA who provided a venue for the meal.
Alfred Ketter, Dancan’s uncle, shared stories about Ketter’s life and his extended family here and back in Kenya.
The Ketter family led the choir in singing two songs in their Kenyan tribal language, Kalijin. The choir, with soloist Emmanuel Jaidah, sang Our God is an Awesome God. Richard Ketter, the victim’s father, announced at the Mass that he was donating an acre of land in Kenya which would commemorate his son’s memory and be used to serve the local Kenyan community by the development of a school and a medical facility.
Patience Jaidah, a member of Central Assembly of God, told how the young adults in the church raised $2,600 for Dancan’s mother in Kenya.
“Duncan (Ketter) was sending some of his paycheck to support his mother and since his passing we wanted to do something to help her,” said Jaidah.
Pastor Searles brought a message from the Gospel of John, which shows that God is with us in our grief and brings us the hope of resurrection through Christ.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask,” read Searles. “Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
Searles also emphasized that grief may bring anger but it’s important that we deal with our anger in a healthy way so that we don’t strike out causing more trouble or even violence. Tizauni Boyles, a church member, read a poem which was followed by prayer led by Searles for all who are grieving and for peace in the East Boston community.
In the days following Keller’s murder the police arrested all suspects they believe were responsible for his death.
Elijah Charles, 18, of Brockton, was arraigned in East Boston Municipal Court on charges of armed robbery and armed assault with intent to rob, according the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. The judge set Charles’s bail at $200,000 and he is scheduled to appear in court on January 19.
The Monday following Ketter’s murder police arrested, Thorus O’Brien, 18, of Brockton. O’Brien was held without bail during his arraignment and charged with murder, armed robbery, and unlawfully carrying a loaded firearm. Police then arrested a 16-year-old juvenile and charged him in Suffolk County Juvenile Court. The juvenile was charged with delinquency, to wit, armed robbery and armed assault with intent to rob. His bail was set at $100,000.
Police later arrested Demetrius Cast, 20, of Everett and he faced similar charges to the juvenile arrested earlier but was charged as an adult. He was held on $350,000 cash bail and his open bail in unrelated Middlesex County cases has been revoked.
Charles’s arrest and subsequent arraignment brought the total number of suspects connected to Ketter’s slaying to four.